In-the-News Update [Issue: 2nd Amendment]

In-the-News Update [Issue: 2nd Amendment]

Assault Weapons Ban

The ATF’s impending rule on pistol-stabilizing braces has sparked controversy as confusion looms over compliance. Despite ATF Director Steve Dettelbach’s testimony suggesting otherwise, the agency’s latest guidance does not allow brace owners to simply remove them from pistols to adhere to the new rule. Instead, the ATF asserts that owners must destroy the braces, surrender them to authorities, or register the brace-equipped firearm under the National Firearms Act to avoid potential federal felony charges. 

However, a recent unpublished order from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals offers a glimmer of hope for gun owners. The order grants a preliminary injunction specifically to the plaintiffs in the case, potentially relieving them from the rule. Although this decision currently only affects the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction encompassing Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, it could potentially extend to members of the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) within those states. 

This development carries significant weight, especially considering that the district court judge initially rejected granting injunctive relief, expressing skepticism regarding the plaintiffs’ chances of success in their argument that the rule violates the Second Amendment and the Administrative Procedures Act. The FPC contends that the rule change fails to offer clarity to law-abiding citizens, leaving them vulnerable to potential arbitrary prosecution. 

The Fifth Circuit’s contrasting conclusion to the district court’s reasoning remains unclear. However, it is hoped that a detailed written opinion will shed light on the judge’s rationale and provide clarity on the scope of the injunction. While the ultimate constitutionality of the ATF’s rule is yet to be determined, the Fifth Circuit’s decision marks a significant stride in the direction of challenging the agency’s restrictive measures. 

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